Meet Tom DeMarchi

He runs the Sanibel Is­land Writ­ers Con­fer­ence, Novem­ber’s key­note is Alice Hoff­man

RSWLiving - - Work - BY PAULA MICHELE BOL ADO Tom DeMarchi

When Tom DeMarchi puts to­gether a writer’s con­fer­ence, he in­ten­tion­ally carves an in­tri­cate ex­pe­ri­ence for both pre­sen­ters and at­ten­dees, from cross-genre writ­ing work­shops and speak­ers ex­cited to share their writ­ing process, to those want­ing to strengthen their craft, all of which make the Sanibel Is­land Writ­ers Con­fer­ence so mem­o­rable.

The event for writ­ers of every stripe is Nov. 2- 5 at the BIG ARTS com­plex on Sanibel. It is hosted by Florida Gulf Coast University. DeMarchi di­rects the con­fer­ence.

DeMarchi grow­ing up in Mas­sachusetts fell in love with writ­ing and lan­guage. At one point con­sid­er­ing law school, he would teach cre­ative writ­ing ex­er­cises to in­ner-city kids at the pres­ti­gious Phillips Academy. He de­cided his path wasn’t with a John Gr­isham-type law firm, that do­ing so would amount to sell­ing his soul, he says.

So, DeMarchi went on to ob­tain a grad­u­ate de­gree in cre­ative writ­ing at Cal­i­for­nia State University. He also stud­ied at Florida In­ter­na­tional University in Mi­ami, work­ing with such writ­ing tal­ent as John Dufresne, Lynne Bar­rett, Les Stan­di­ford, the poet Camp­bell McGrath. He would be­come a writ­ing tu­tor and run the writ­ing in­struc­tional pro­gram at State University of New York at Cort­land. He left that gig to join Florida Gulf Coast University as a cre­ative writ­ing in­struc­tor. He wasn’t sure about a re­quest to di­rect the Sanibel Is­land Writ­ers Con­fer­ence, how­ever. “It’s like build­ing an air­plane while fly­ing it,” he says of run­ning such an event, adding that he be­gan cold­call­ing re­spected writ­ers he knew who were also good teach­ers. In all, some 800 nov­el­ists, journalist­s, song­writ­ers, play­wrights/screen­writ­ers, agents, pub­lish­ing ex­perts, po­ets and guest speak­ers in the word trade have ap­peared at the Novem­ber event that

It’s like build­ing an air­plane while fly­ing it.” —Tom DeMarchi, on di­rect­ing the Sanibel Is­land Writ­ers Con­fer­ence

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